How to Find Inspiration in Life

Dear friend,

If you have a hard time getting out of bed, or finding inspiration in life, this letter is for you.

We Have Control How to Live Our Lives

First of all, realize that even to be alive is a blessing. To be honest, we weren’t asked to be born on this planet. We were thrust into this world without a say in it.

However, the reality is that we are alive, and we exist in this world. Thus, we have the control in our lives what direction to steer our ship in life. We decide how to live our lives– what to focus our energy, time, and attention on. We decide who to spend our time with, and what we dictate as valuable (or not valuable) in our life.

We might not always have control over what our jobs are, or how we make our living– but we can control what kind of art to pursue in life, and where to find inspiration in life.


Where I Find Inspiration in My Everyday Life

Doing yoga with Amelia underneath us. Orange County, 2018
Doing yoga with Amelia underneath us. Orange County, 2018

For myself, I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere.

I find inspiration in children, who aren’t ‘corrupted’ by the real world yet. I find inspiration in my 2.5-year old niece Amelia who sings, dances, and experiments with new things, without worrying about embarrassing herself, or worrying how she will “make a living” from what she is passionate/curious about in life.

space

I find inspiration when I don’t judge my own inclinations, my own desires, my own interests, or what I am curious about. I know in the past, I have been discouraged by my parents/teachers/friends/partners from pursuing certain interests because it was “a waste of time”. As Nassim Taleb says, “What fools call a ‘waste of time’ is often the best use of your time.” Thus, to find more inspiration in life, don’t restrain your curiosity– pursue what you are interested about, without fear of criticism of others telling you that you are “wasting your time.” It is your right to spend your time, energy, and attention however you desire.

Bust of Themistocles, a giant in history
Bust of Themistocles, a giant in history

I also find inspiration from fields outside of my “domain expertise”. For example, I have been really fascinated lately in blockchain technology, even though it is outside of my field of expertise. I am interested in Physics and the principles of Kinetic Energy, even though I “only” studied Humanities in college (I am a sociology major from UCLA, and was never very good in mathematics/science courses in college). My friend Chris Dillow taught me a good trick on how to learn anything: assume you can do anything (and everything).

How sad it is that we often talk down on ourselves, and convince ourselves why we cannot do things. For example, consider how sad it is that a lot of engineers/sciences people tell themselves that they cannot make art, because they aren’t “artistic”. Or how sad it is that artists/humanities folks tell themselves that they cannot do “technical things”, because their brain isn’t wired that way. Let us rather be like Leonardo da Vinci, who didn’t put silly boundaries between arts/humanities/sciences — but rather integrated all these fields, to become the most fully-realized “renaissance person” who has probably ever lived.


I Find Inspiration in Heroes and Role Models

I also find massive inspiration from my heroes in life– Steve Jobs, Kanye West, JAY Z, Elon Musk, Dr. Dre, Picasso, who were normal human beings like the rest of us– and followed their own inner-voice, their own intuition, and were relentless/insanely focused on their passions in life, and didn’t compromise their own artistic vision.

Abstract Eric Kim Tokyo iPad Sketch with Procreate
Abstract Eric Kim Tokyo iPad Sketch with Procreate

I find inspiration from all forms of art– audio, visual, dance. Audio: music, podcasts, spoken word, poetry. Visual: photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, digital or analogue art. Dance: ballet, hip hop dance, bboying, interpretive, etc.

NEXT: company by Steve Jobs after he was ousted from Apple

No Boundaries

STREET NOTES, PHOTO JOURNAL, FILM NOTES, STREET HUNT
STREET NOTES, PHOTO JOURNAL, FILM NOTES, STREET HUNT

I find the biggest harm comes from folks who try to differentiate/section off/categorize people/things/ideas/concepts/art.

As humans, we try to differentiate ourselves by sectioning ourselves off, and by categorizing people/communities/societies in different boxes. But this is harmful and dangerous– because we start to only see limits and constraints, rather than unlimited opportunities.

lines abstract

The Beautiful Art of Cross-Pollination

How I Measure Success
How I Measure Success

The best way to innovate or to find new sources of inspiration is through “cross-pollination” — taking disparate fields and combining ideas in a novel way.

For example, how can you take all of your random interests/skills/strengths in life, and combine them in a novel way — just like how a honeybee will collect pollen from many different sources of flowers, and make a unique honey?

Lately I’ve been mixing a lot of personal interests I’ve had– from car design, to architecture, to powerlifting, diet and fitness, philosophy, history, economics, photography, and entrepreneurship.


How to Motivate Yourself to Act

Whenever I am lacking motivation to do stuff, or lacking inspiration, some things I like to do to pump myself up:

  1. Go to the gym and do deadlifts, squats, or heavy dumbbell presses. Going to the gym, I find inspiration seeing everyone else working hard, and it gives the chance for my mind to wander. Also I like to listen to music at the gym, and it is like my zen meditation.
  2. Watch inspirational music videos: I love music videos, because of the artistry in them, and the combination of the music. It makes me aspire to make greater audio-visual art.
  3. Take a walk in the park: Something about seeing greenery lets my mind wander, and find random connections and gives me new ideas. The simple act of walking always gives me new ideas.
  4. Drink a shot of espresso: Of course.
  5. Take a nap: If you’re exhausted, you cannot act. Take a nap, and keep a notepad close-by. Whenever I take a nap, I often daydream and come up with new ideas, which I will write down once I wake up.
  6. Do something active and fun: Rather than just vegging out and watching Netflix– figure out how you can do something ACTIVE that is fun. Draw, sketch, read an engaging book or novel, or sketch out ideas.

Make the Best Out of Everyday!

The modern photographer cover final
THE MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER by HAPTICPRESS

Everyday is a gift. I think the secret to a happy, productive, and personally-meaningful life is to make the best use of everyday we are given.

We never know when we will die. We might die today in a texting-while-driving accident, or some moron might run a red light and kill us. We might die in our sleep. We might have an allergic reaction to some food or substance we don’t know about, and we might die that way.

world trade memorial, new york city

What if we lived a life where we made the best use of today, and didn’t have any distant hopes or dreams of unrealistic things happening in the future? What if rather than hoping that we are somehow “discovered” by someone else, we could make our own luck, and start building our own business, and investing in ourselves? What if we could “pick ourselves“, and pursue our own dreams in life, with the fullest extent of vigor and zeal possible?

selfie eric kim cindy nguyen orange county

What would such a life look like? There is no way to find out, except finding out for yourself.

BE STRONG,
ERIC


PHILOSOPHY

Find more meaning and purpose in your life:

Personal Philosophy »

Stoicism »

Zen Philosophy »

Life Lessons »

Learn more: Start Here >

Conquer your fears and meet new peers:

Regarding workshops please email my manager Neil at neilta@gmail.com


ERIC KIM NEWSLETTER

Join the ERIC KIM CLUB >